Innovate 2010: Thoughts on the conference

It's kids building robots, clouds, and keynotes to make you weep with joy

IBM® Rational®'s Theresa Quatrani, and Fred Gutierrez, and IBM technology evangelists Doug Tidwell and Eric Long tell you what they think about the Innovate 2010 Conference in Orlando, Florida.


Scott Laningham (, Podcast Editor, IBM developerWorks

Scott LaninghamScott Laningham, host of developerWorks podcasts, was previously editor of developerWorks newsletters. Prior to IBM, he was an award-winning reporter and director for news programming featured on Public Radio International, a freelance writer for the American Communications Foundation and CBS Radio, and a songwriter/musician.

11 June 2010

developerWorks: Scott Laningham at Innovate 2010. We're doing a little wrap up podcast here. And we have TQ with us with her Minnie Mouse hat on, is that right? [For more on TQ and the hat, LISTEN or READ.] Doug Tidwell, we talked to Doug earlier [LISTEN], he's joining us again. Fred Gutierrez and Eric Long.

Eric, I forgot what you do, could you remind me?

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Long: Sure. I'm a technology evangelist on a Rational Events team.

developerWorks: And I know we've talked before, so thanks for being here too. Well I want to ask you all, you know, just as a wrap up, kind of impressions of the conference, how it's different from last year, [and] highlights. Terry, you want to talk?

Quatrani: Mama is very, very happy. It has been fabulous. We have more sessions, more tracks, more people, and the only complaint I've heard is that there's just so many good sessions, people don't know what [ones] to go to. And oh, by the way, they're like crawling out the doors because some of them have been really, really crowded.

developerWorks: And that's the problem you want, right?

Quatrani: Absolutely.

developerWorks: Doug, what do you think? How has it all hit you?

Tidwell: What's really hit me is the emphasis on some of the build and management products, you know, the Build Forge. I look at everything sort of from a cloud perspective, and I think the ability to manage some of these complex configurations, to deploy and provision things on the fly, it's really amazing to me, even for people who aren't in the cloud yet. I think it's really enabling people to take the next step as they roll out their applications into the next-generation infrastructures.

developerWorks: Great. Fred, what are you thinking?

Gutierrez: For me, in particular our guest keynote speakers have been a fabulous lineup this year, I've really enjoyed them. And we've done up things a little bit different, and the customers are saying so, that they're seeing some differences and they're liking them.

developerWorks: You know, Doug and I missed this morning's keynote and sadly, I've been hearing from so many people [that] "oh it was great, I almost cried, you know." Scott Bosworth just told me how wonderful it was. What did you think of it?

Long: I like Grady's [Booch] talk. It's always good to hear Grady talk. He's just got, provides that interesting perspective around in his own IBM research-ey kind of way of looking at things. And when he started talking about all of the new types of technologies, not just where we're at today, but what's in the future for IBM, I think those really hit and resonated well with the audience and all the customers here.

developerWorks: And I know Terry claims Grady Booch as a son, so I'm sure you want to chime in on that.

Quatrani: Absolutely. Grady is my son, and if you ask him he tells his people that he's my love child. [LAUGHTER]

But I did bring him up right. And you're right, he was fantastic. And then he was followed by Dean Kamen, he was phenomenal, talking about all his companies and the stuff that he's doing, the good stuff that he's doing, and spending a lot of time talking about FIRST which is an organization that he put together. It's kids building robotics and turning it into a competition. And just, I mean, he brought tears to my eyes. It was phenomenal.

developerWorks: We talked earlier about the You Innovate session, Doug was there, Fred was there, Terry was there for a little bit. I had an interesting chat with a gentleman after that session, and he had come from Germany, and you talked with him too, Fred.

Gutierrez: No, I did not.

developerWorks: You didn't?

Well, he was saying how much he enjoyed it and how much he wishes more of this was going on at these conferences. What do you think about that?

Gutierrez: Well, him and another man named Rohit, said the same thing. He said, we want more of this audience-driven content where we are the ones that determine what we talk about.

developerWorks: How tough is that to pull off, you know, because you've got to have the big speakers and the topics and get people to travel halfway around the world to come, but you want to have the right balance so that they feel like they're really participating. Terry, what do you think?

Quatrani: I think we'll definitely look seriously into doing some more of that for next year. I mean, this was an experiment this year, we've never done it, that they're total open space conferences that they run all over. We'll never get to be a total open space conference, but having some more of those You Innovate type sessions is definitely possible.

developerWorks: So, Danny Sabbah opening it up to questions from the floor on day one is probably not going to happen quite like that though.

Quatrani: Oh, he might, you never know. We'll ask him. [LAUGHTER]

Gutierrez: He'll be one of our breakouts. [LAUGHTER]

developerWorks: Doug, we talked earlier with you about cloud and did you hear some new things on that topic? And of course, we want to differentiate between the cloud, and cloud computing. We talked about that, but new things, new ideas or comments here that you had not heard before?

Tidwell: Not so much new comments. To me, the main thing is just how well our products are moving to help people take advantage of that. You know, as an employee and a stockholder, that makes me very happy. I think customers are very excited about that as well.

developerWorks: So the message is getting out and it's coming across?

Tidwell: Absolutely. People understand the economics of it, the basics of the technology, and how it works. And I think we're going to make it very easy for them to move out there and take advantage of it.

developerWorks: Eric, you are there at the You Innovate session, what did you think of it?

Long: I thought it was great. And also, to add on to Doug's point over there, that it's not just with cloud computing that you see more and more people adopting this. I come from a very Jazz-based knowledge base, and Jazz started out new about two years ago in 2008 when we first started really talking about and pushing Jazz.

And it's interesting now with this year at the Innovate conference how we've really had this kind of customer first, and wanted to have it be a customer, a more customer-oriented conference.

And that resonated extremely well in the sessions. So even in the day-to-day sessions that you'd go to, you'd hear, instead of maybe an IBMer pushing the technology, now two years later after it's been released, the customer talking about the technology and how they've been using the technology and how successful they are with it.

That type of excitement around a product like Jazz, or around cloud, which is what we'll probably see in the coming years because it's relatively new-ish technology, is what's exciting about coming to these conferences over and over again.

developerWorks: We didn't even talk about why the conference name changed. I mean, why is it Innovate now? What's that all about?

Gutierrez: Well because Rational is all about innovation. As you see from the conference this week, the theme this year is building a smarter planet. Dean Kamen's keynote talked about how software pulls a digital world and the physical world together to do things that help the world, basically help people.

developerWorks: Other thoughts on that, Terry?

Quatrani: Another reason to change the name is if you look at the other IBM conferences, you've got Tivoli, you've got Pulse. And we're really pushing that we're our own individual brand, but we're really IBM. So you want people to think we all have the same branding now, you know, nice names that go with the conference. And you'll also hear, seeing us like brothers and sisters and not disparate conferences.

developerWorks: The Smarter Planet message, it's driving all of these events more towards cross-brand, cross-technology focus anyway isn't it, Doug?

Tidwell: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. I mean, as you have more and more devices, more and more data, more and more things to manage, more and more things to interact with, then you've got to have this whole product suite to tie all of that together.

developerWorks: And it fits on a card better than the Rational Software Development Conference, too, doesn't it? [LAUGHTER]

Anyway, thank you all. And again, Scott Laningham at Innovate 2010 in Orlando. Be back here again next year, one more year here at least, right? Okay, thank you all so much.

Long: Thanks.

Gutierrez: Goodbye.



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ArticleTitle=Innovate 2010: Thoughts on the conference